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“Health and safety: In a sorry state of health? UK/neoliberal governments waging war on health & safety = more deaths, injuries, & ill-health.

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Presentation on theme: "“Health and safety: In a sorry state of health? UK/neoliberal governments waging war on health & safety = more deaths, injuries, & ill-health."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Health and safety: In a sorry state of health? UK/neoliberal governments waging war on health & safety = more deaths, injuries, & ill-health

2 Globally Work kills more than war every year: 2.3 million, ILO vast underest. "If terrorism took such a toll, just imagine what would be said and done." Jukka Takala, ILO. "No worker should have to sacrifice life, limbs or health to earn an honest day’s pay—not here in the United States, not in Bangladesh or anywhere else. Yet, corporations continue the push for profits, seeking to avoid regulation and oversight. They claim that stronger worker protections and enforcement kill profit, when the reality is that failure to act kills workers." AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka. Kern Ward Jnr. Charleston Gazette after Boston bomb, West Fertilizer plant explosion and Dhaka building collapse: “Terrorists want media attention, so we give it to them. Unsafe industries don’t want media attention- so we give that to them” Unsafe, unhealthy workplaces are employers waging war & terrorism against workers, aided & abetted by neoliberal governments all over the world deregulating and slashing enforcement

3 Hazards Campaign challenging government lies, educating, organising and agitating since 2010

4 Government Lies supported by Employers organisations, “Loony libertarian, slash the state, shrink government” think-tanks and media H&S over the top, gorn mad, nazi inspectors terrorising business, killing jobs Compensation culture is rife H&S useless red tape, strangling business, stopping kids getting work-experience, H&S is a ‘burden on business’ Most workplaces ‘low hazard/risk’ H&S is only common sense; employers will do the right thing; workers must be more responsible for their own H&S

5 Sick state of health & safety H& S in Britain is NOT one of best in world For occupational health and safety performance, GB is 20th out of 34 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (most developed) countries, 30 out of 176 total. Maplecroft Risk Index 2010 Many people are still hurt by modern work - Workforce about 29.7 million, about 7 million TU members. Hazards Campaign est. per year: 1,400 killed in work-related incidents, 50,000 dying of work illnesses (cancer- 18,000, heart disease-20,000, lung & other diseases -12,000) That’s 140 per day: 6 per hour. Per year minimum 2 million suffering work-related illness, 27 million working days lost to injury & illness; presenteeism bigger problem; 111,000 injuries, 22,000 major. Many experts think we have more occupational ill health now than ever Government/HSE lies so public have no idea what risk work presents

6 Sick state of health and safety H&S HAS NOT has gone mad, its GONE AWOL! NOT over the top, over enforced, over bureaucratic, ’job killing red tape’, ‘an albatross’, ‘a millstone round employers necks’ or a joke – less paper work and time than 40 years ago, far less spot inspections as banned in majority of workplaces falsely called ‘low risk’, HSE and LA budgets cut by over 33%, fewer inspectors; investigations - down only 1 in 20 major/fatals investigated; inspections massively down only once in 45 years BEFORE Grayling’s ban; prosecutions down by 50% over 10 years, Improvement and Prohibition Notices down- in 98% of major injuries no enforcement action at all. Most workplace ARE NOT ‘Low risk’ - Only nuclear, major hazard sites, construction, waste/recycling & foundries now ‘high risk’ and able to be proactively inspected, all rest ‘low risk’ so proactive inspections banned. Maybe less likely to be killed in incident but ill health rife – stress, MSDs, violence, asbestos exposure all rife AND 53% of HSE recorded deaths occur in ‘low risk’ workplaces! HSE/LA from proactive to reactive

7 Sick state of health and safety There is NO ‘compo culture’ at work! Hazards ‘Robbed! Bloody bandages but no bloody compensation!’ 2011/12: 87,655 claims against ECLI HSE est >600,000 workers suffered work-related injury/developed new illness in 2011/12 Therefore only 1 in 7 even made a claim FOI to DWP CRU – only 1 in 26 suffering w-r illness made a claim HSE est 13,500 new w-r cancer p.a. In 2011/12 just 2,500 made a claim, almost all mesothelioma Non-mesothelioma claims:1 in 50 occ cancer sufferers make a claim HSE est COPD kills 4,000 pa yet only 59 claims in 2011/12 Government response: massive clamp down on all legal aid relating to work injury/illness

8 Sick state of health and safety Good H&S is NOT a burden on business, lack of it is a massive unsustainable burden on us! Individual workers & families pain, suffering, heartache - immeasurable HSE records costs of poor health & safety i.e. deaths, injuries & illnesses (over 70% caused by poor management) as £13.4 billion per year, not including long latency illnesses like cancers. Each incident fatality costs £1.5 million & each occupational cancer costs £2.5 million (DEFRA costing). Taking HSE’s gross under est. of 8,000 work cancer deaths p.a. adds £20 billion making total over £30 billion per year. Hazards estimates nearer £60 billion. Of this cost, according to the HSE, individuals & families pay 55%, the state - us, tax payers!- pay 24%, and employers whose criminal negligence caused the harm, pay 22%! See HSE Annual Statistics Report 2011/12:

9 Sick state of health and safety H&S is NOT just common sense eg. Shift work and cancer; nanotechnology, ergonomics, mechanics, chemicals exposure, invisible dangers etc FACK knows employers cannot be ‘trusted to do the right thing’ & have no ‘common sense’ Workers are not in control of their workplace and cannot be responsible for the hazards and risks they face- careless worker is rare and most injuries and illness are not accidental but preventable.


11 Global Crisis of Enforcement

12 Damage since Con-Dems took power 2010 Lord Young – ‘Common sense, common safety’ – occ health? 35% cut to HSE’s already inadequate budget over 3 years Grayling’s new strategy “Good Health & Safety Good for Everyone” – Fee for Intervention (FFI); 33% cut in proactive inspections 11,000,HSE, 65,000 LAs; Lofstedt Review Lofstedt Report ‘Reclaiming health and safety for all’ November 2011 – ‘No need for radical change’ BUT paved the way for.. No new laws but from Europe & no gold plating ‘One in, one out, now one new law to ‘two out’+ ‘Sunsetting’ clauses No new ‘burdens’ on SMEs <30 for 3 years Legal aid cuts for PI, charges for tribunals, Beecroft fire at will, Red Tape Challenge x 2 Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Bill - civil liability Attacks on facility time but not SRSC- yet

13 Damage since Con-Dems took power 2010 Dame Black et al Work & Health; Sickness Absence Management- work good for you therefore ALL work good for you, & if sick, work will make you better! Fit Note/ 4 week referral for assessment Alternatives to regulations- responsibility pledges, prayer? Self regulation, earned autonomy Shut HSE Infoline, No Tel Nos on HSE website 14 Regs repealed ACoPs consultation – including downgrading AcoP for Management Regs to guidance Riddor >3 day to >7 day reproting, HSE proposed more change Deregulation Bill - Exempting Self Employed from H&S law ‘Independent’ Triennial Review of HSE chaired by EEF with ‘abolition;’ an option! More cuts to DWP therefore to HSE


15 Your choice: Red Tape or Bloody Bandages? Are you mad that your survival at work treated as a joke? Angry that fast fading HSE watchdog is tamely fronting government’s break-neck cull of life-or-death rights and safeguards? Geoffrey Podger, CEO is leaving, so support Citizen Sane: Rory O’Neill-new HSE CEO?

16 Workplace H&S is ABOUT YOU! It’s about blood & sweat not £ and pence If you agree you deserve better protection Support Hazards editor Rory O’Neill for HSE leadership: No apologies for standing up for your H&S No flinching from chasing/exposing safety criminals Will shout loudly: problem not too much red tape but too many bloody bandages

17 Hazards Blueprint for safer saner HSE We are the law All major injuries and cases of serious occupational disease will be investigated – scarcely any are at the moment - and there will be a presumption that enforcement action will follow.We are the law Safety pays… So the government should pay for safety. The HSE budget should be doubled immediately. Every pound spent on safety earns many times more in sickness, retraining, health care and benefits savings.Safety pays… No compromise Out-going HSE chief Geoffrey Podger was out-manoeuvred and humiliated by ministers – the all new HSE will bite the government hand that starves it.No compromise

18 Hazards Blueprint for safer saner HSE Creative solutions HSE will have a new Bright Ideas unit, to encourage innovative, preventive, precautionary approaches. Innovation is good – it means new products, new marCreative solutions Making a killing If a death or major incident occurs at work, a new HSE Rapid Response Team will raid both the workplace and the boardroom. A dedicated Prosecutions Division will demand penalties including jail time that reflect the magnitude of the crime. kets and new and better jobs.Making a killing Putting the ‘H’ in HSE HSE doesn’t do health anymore, yet work-related ill-health claims at least 100 times as many lives in the UK as injuries. HSE’s near extinct medical unit will be resurrected and properly resourced. Putting the ‘H’ in HSE

19 Hazards Blueprint for safer saner HSE The people’s HSE The HSE board will be reconfigured. Employer and union representatives will be supplemented by voices from hazards, occupational disease advocacy and environmental justice groups. The current dysfunctional board is dominated by retired executives.The people’s HSE Community role Asbestos, the Buncefield and ICL blasts and Legionnaires’ outbreaks show what happens at work, doesn’t necessarily stay at work. So, HSE will engage with a much wider constituency.Community role Power to the people HSE will reinstate an in-house version of its Infoline and create a confidential Whistleblowers’ Hotline - HSE can’t be everywhere, but workers and the wider community can. A new Workplace Prevention Fund will support practical initiatives and training.Power to the people

20 Hazards Blueprint for safer saner HSE Real lives, real workplaces Today’s worker is likely to have multiple jobs, more jobs through an extended working lifetime and will face rapidly evolving conditions at work. HSE will get real and act on the problems facing today's workplaces with far more women, agency, temporary & migrant workers.Real lives, real workplaces Wear and tears HSE will target Britain’s top occupational health problem - attrition. The day-by-day wear-and-tear of the job leaves workers ground down, spat out and sometimes worked to death. Wear and tears Worker empowerment There are 150,000 trade union safety reps, on the ground and ready to go. They need the right to know, the right to act and the right to stop the job. The creation of roving reps and regional reps will expand their coverage. Safetyreps will be able to rely on back up &support from HSEWorker empowerment

21 A better world is possible – if we all work together Support Hazards magazine for a safer, safer future where workers are at the centre of safety policy, not the victims of it. ‘Like’ the We Love Red Tape facebook page: For more info Defend H&S inside the workplace Fight back against the attacks with member, union., community, build support for sane health and safety Challenge the lies with members, in press/,media and public forums, Lobby MPs,

22 Contact details UK Hazards Campaign; info@hazardscampaign, Hazards Campaign info@hazardscampaign, Face Book :We didn’t Vote to Die at Work Twitter @HildaPalmer Hazards Magazine:; Twitter @hazardsmagazine, FaceBook: Hazards Magazine; Workers Memorial Day 28 FACK Families Against Corporate Killers:,; FaceBook: Families Against Corporate Alliance for Cancer Prevention and facebook Greater Manchester Hazards Centre :

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